vermiculture and separation of compost

Discussion in 'Soils, Fertilizers and Composting' started by J.Onstott, Mar 29, 2007.

  1. J.Onstott

    J.Onstott Active Member

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    Hiya-
    I have a few worm bins and I am thinking that it is time to separate the worms from the compost.... has anyone perfected a way to do this? I have looked on line, but I thought that one of you may have some technique. Thanks ~Jessica
     
  2. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

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    Pick the worms out of the compost? Seriously, you could try a compost sieve, gently, of course. I would think that would work.
     
  3. J.Onstott

    J.Onstott Active Member

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    Thanks,
    The compost sieve may work, picking them out... not enough spring break for that!
     
  4. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    J--I had always heard that you lure the worms out of the finished compost by adding new food sources...on top or side depending on whether you're working in a bin or a windrow.

    Commercially they definitely use this system, moving along the pad with new material at the end of the windrow...hungry worms move into the new foods and leave the older finished stuff nearly empty of worms. That said, it isn't perfect, and the vermicompost I buy always has a few worms left in it...not a problem of course. At least you keep the great majority of your workers to carry on the process.

    An interesting system by a company in Oregon uses a grate on the bottom of the raised worm bin, with another moveable grate above it. When the moveable grate is slid back and forth, the vermi on the bottom of the container is coaxed out of the bottom for collection. By adding new foods on top of the bin, the worms are always well away from the area that vermi is being harvested.
     
  5. fern2

    fern2 Active Member

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    I read somewhere that you should dump the mix onto a plastic sheet and leave it outside for a bit. The worms will then move toward the centre of the pile (to avoid the light) and you can remove the worm-free outer edges of compost. Mix up the pile again, ensuring you've got a thin 'rim' of compost around the main pile, and then wait & remove the worms again. Repeat over & over until you end up with a handful of compost containing lots of worms.

    I've not tried this method but it certainly makes sense and it sounds like it'd be a lot less 'dangerous' for the worms (compared to using a filter or grate).
     
  6. Gursk

    Gursk Active Member

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    I have also heard that you can put an onion bag in the bin that contains new foodscraps. The worms will move to the new food, and you can then harvest, returning the contents of the onion bag (with all the worms) to the bin afterwards.

    HTH
     

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